An emotionally riveting and exquisitely eventful series between England and India came to an end with the hosts clinching a 4-1 series victory. England won the Series Finale Test by 118 runs despite a well-collaborated show of heroism that was displayed by Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul in the final innings.
The Oval Test was the deadest of dead rubbers since England had convincingly won the series (3-1) at Southampton. However, it turned out to be the most eventful match of the entire series.
Series debutant Rishabh Pant and struggling of late opener KL Rahul displayed the depth in batting India are reputed to have but somehow remained lost on them throughout the series. Thanks to the two centurions, Pant(114 off 146) and Rahul(149 off 224), that the match could see the face of the last session. England had set a target of 464 with the aid of centuries scored by Joe Root and Alastair Cook. India were in a shambles after being five wickets down at 121. From then on, Pant and Rahul helped India make a massive recovery and added a partnership of 204 runs. Adil Rashid inflicted the much-awaited breakthrough for England dismissing both of them in quick successions.
Alastair Cook signed off with a smile on his face and with added feathers to his cap. England’s former captain, now former cricketer, announced his retirement after the 4th Test which saw England’s series triumph. The 5th and the final Test had to be all about Cook, after all, it was a legend’s farewell! The Chef tailored his fairytale of a 33rd hundred to fashionably make his way into a distinctive club while breaking other major records. Not only did he become the fifth cricketer to score centuries on both debut and final Tests, but also became the highest run-getter in Test among left-handed batsmen overtaking Sangakkara’s previous record. He was adjudged the Man of the Match for his 286-ball 147 in the second innings and 71 in the first.
To make it all the more special for England, James Anderson bagged his 564th Test wicket in the form of Mohammad Shami to surpass McGrath’s record of 563 Test wickets. It was the final Test wicket of the match as it wrapped up India’s much-fought innings. Anderson is now the highest wicket-taker in Tests among fast bowlers. Only three spinners have more Test wickets- Muttiah Muralitharan(800), Shane Warne(708) and Anil Kumble(619). Furthermore, Jimmy stands as the highest wicket-taker in this series with 24 wickets at 18.12.
The players of the series:
Indian Skipper Virat Kohli remains at the top of high scorers list in this series with 593 runs at 59.30 in 10 innings. The second in the list is England’s Jos Buttler who scored 349 at 38.77 in 9 innings.
England’s series debutant Sam Curran got acknowledged and awarded for his exceptional all-rounder performance on debut. He claimed 11 wickets at 23.54 and scored 272 runs at 38.85, both in 8 innings.
India’s next assignment starts on September 18 as they’re set to begin their campaign in the Asia Cup as defending champions. With Virat Kohli being rested, Rohit Sharma has been selected to lead the Indian side. While England will travel to Sri Lanka for a five-match ODI series starting on 10th October, followed by one T20I and three Test matches.